How will same-sex “marriage” affect your home? A lot, if you don’t have one to come home to. That’s the stunning predicament Barronelle Stutzman finds herself in after a judge found the Christian florist guilty late yesterday. The popular grandmother, who’s been a fixture in her Washington community for 37 years, knows the cost of conviction — and if the state gets its way, she’ll be paying it.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alexander Ekstrom has officially made Stutzman’s house, assets, and life savings fair game in the fierce debate over religious liberty. In a lengthy 60-page opinion, the court argues that Barronelle’s “relationship with Jesus Christ” doesn’t give her the freedom to turn down business — even if that business violates her personal beliefs.
“Religious motivation does not excuse compliance with the law,” Ekstrom wrote in his decision about the 2013 store flap. When long-time customers approached Arlene’s Flowers about making centerpieces for their same-sex “wedding,” Barronelle politely declined. But here’s the catch. Stutzman didn’t deny the men flowers, as the media wrongly suggests, but arrangements — which would have required Barronelle to use her personal artistry to express what she believes is a sinful message.